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Horsemeat scandal: reinforced controls in Austria

The scandal about beef that turned out to be horsemeat has now reached Austria. Authorities said that Austrian products are not affected but inspection arrangements are, nevertheless, reinforced. Instant meals are examined intensely.

"We have known about the issue since Friday night. Since then we also know that Austria is not affected. (…) Our focus is on drawing samples, in particular, from instant meals made of beef", said Carolin Krejci, an employee at the department for Food Law, Security and Quality of the Austrian Ministry of Health on Monday.

The authorities conduct regular examinations whether there is a conformance of the used products and the information on them.

"There were 71,500 revisions in 2011 (which involved visits of companies, examinations and the drawing of samples). 31,782 samples were drawn", said Ms Krejci. "Only 0,5 percent of the samples were harmful in 2011, which is very little."

There were no complaints for almost 86 percent of the samples in the food sector. Controls were made among manufacturers, wholesalers and gastronomy.

For example, different sorts of cheese are examined. It is necessary to find out whether sheep’s cheese is completely made of sheep’s milk.

There are special controls of meat because it is important for certain religious groups that a specific mandatory form of slaughter is secured.

DNA examinations guarantee clear results even with the smallest amounts of samples.

Ms Krejci said that there is no indication about a similar horsemeat scandal in Austria. The authorities are, however, just evaluating the entire dates.

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